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what year 305 chevy is best to rebuild?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gr8shot, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. gr8shot
    Joined: Sep 30, 2012
    Posts: 9


    I'm toying with the idea of replacing the tired old 350/350 combo in my '53 Chevy with a 305/2004r combo. I'm going to dress the 305 up like an old 283 Corvette motor.

    What year 305 should I look for? And what years (if any) should I avoid?

    Any input is greatly appreciated.

    Thank You
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  2. Why would you want a 305? HRP
  3. 19-c
    Joined: Jun 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,085


    the cost of rebuilding a 350 is no different then a 305 and you will have a more desireable motor when finished. With that being said, if you already had a fresh 305 sitting there then that's a different story. just my opinion
  4. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,525


    If you found a real good used SS Monte Carlo it might work out. Rebuild for 350 is cheaper because there's so many out there.

  5. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,380

    from New York

    You can probably dress any sbc to look like a 283. I think only pros might be able to tell the difference.

    My 2pennies... I am trying recreate what someone would have done in the early 60s to go faster. I am building a 283 but I would drop a 327 if I found one cheap enough.
  6. I'd go with a 90's model. Factory roller cam. I'm assuming that by building a 305, you're not too worried about making buttloads of power, and probably looking for a little better MPG. Roller cam cuts friction, reduce frictional losses to make an itty bit more HP or MPG. A very little bit. EFI and overdrive are the key to making more MPG. Yes, you can have a traditional looking rod with EFI. You just have to plan to hide everything so the "tradition Nazis" don't squeeze your nuts, or just learn to not give a shit. Hard to see when your EFI if your hood is down.

    Also, I drove a t-bucket with a 305 that was fun to drive. 305s may not be cool, and I wouldn't get one for performance driving, but they can be fun in the right car. They sound and look like a small block chevy (maybe because they are), and can be had cheap. And my last endorsement is I run one in my Willys.

    I love my 200-4R in my O/T car. I want to put one in my '53.
  7. I wouldn't do a full rebuild on a 305.
    Good running 305s are just too cheap.
    The better ones are IRRC are LE9s found in mid to late 80s trucks, vans, camaros and SS monte. Higher compression and more grunt.

    My absolute favorite combo for an unbeatable dollar to horsepower ratio is a 307 with the 305 HO heads. Key is you need a good 307 short block that's been relieved of service just because its a 307.
  8. 1964countrysedan
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,131

    from Texas

    Why not build a 283?
  9. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,492

    Rusty O'Toole

    Why not rebuild the 350 you already have? It would be the easiest and cheapest way to go.

    You can get good power and economy by doing a straight rebuild with an aftermarket dual plane manifold, Rochester carb, RV cam and headers. Thousands of 350s were built this way in the 70s and 80s for driver type cars and pickups. You can get about 25% more HP and mileage in the low 20s. With your light car, better trans, and a suitable rear axle gear you should do better than that.
  10. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,048


    A few yeas ago I got a good deal on a 91 305 roller cam engine that was never assembled. It had a mild Comp cam roller,actual 9.2 compression,earlier 416 heads,500 Edelbrock on a Weiand intake.I added Rams Horn Manifolds and this lump went into a 64 El Camino with a 4 speed.
    It made surprising power to 5500 rpm and got good fuel mileage.In fact it ran so well most thought it was a 327......
    I wouldn't pay big money for a 305 street engine but for the right price and parts it can be way better that's usual reputation.
  11. jesse1980
    Joined: Aug 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,355


  12. 305 ,compcams thumper, 5-speed, original Dana rear, good power and24-26 hwy mileage @60-70 mph

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  13. Jay Tyrrell
    Joined: Dec 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,631

    Jay Tyrrell

    No brainer here man. Build a 350!
  14. M224SPEED
    Joined: May 12, 2010
    Posts: 171

    from Missouri

    Sometimes we get sidetracked with all of the opinions on a wide open question,my 2 cents work with what you have,and or what you can afford.
    Keeping up with the Jones' only makes your pockets empty !!
  15. Dyce
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,912


    Go with a 1 piece rear main seal block. The early blocks had cam problems. The lifter bores were off on some blocks. They say build a 350 because it's cheaper? Parts are cheaper but the initial cost of the engine is higher for the 350. If you want it to look like a 283 you'll need the power pack heads and early brackets and pulleys to pull it off.
  16. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    It will be a cold day in Hell when I'd spend my hard earned money trying to fool some dip shit at a car show into thinking my engine is something its not. Whats the point? Build a 350 and be done with it.
  17. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792


    Exactly. There's a shit load of people, spending big money, to fool or fit in with people they don't even know. It's gotten really stupid in the last 10 years.
  18. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,528

    from Diablo Ca.

    The heads are the biggest issue. The later vortec heads will build more power. It boils down to whether you want the earlyer 2 piece rear main seal, and 4 bolt valve covers, or a later 1 piece rear main seal motor. I had an 86 305 out of an Impala in my 77 chevy 4x4, and was pulling 20 mpg. The downside was I couldn't pull a grade with my trailer loaded. I would get a late 90's vortec out of a wrecking yard before rebuilding one.
  19. To stay on topic and actually answer the guys question the HO 305s used in the 80s Monte SS & Iroc Camaros used very good heavy duty rods similar to the old "pink rods". Using one from an 86 or newer will also get you the one piece rear main seal.
  20. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    IMo look for a late 80's or 90's with a 1 pc seal and the roller cam as the cam will allow you to use newer oils without the worries of having to have additive or Zddp , the seal won't give you leak problems like some of the older ones , and the roller cam motors can make some nice numbers in power , one secret my freind has done to make his last is balance the assy, it will make more power and runs smoother . but if you can find a 350 vortec motor out of a pick up that would be better yet as its cheap and makes more power stock even with a carb .
  21. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,151


    Find a good running 305, bump the cam up and fine tun it. At least your not running a blinged old old car.
  22. 61 chevy
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 891

    61 chevy

    if I was going to fake a motor, it would be a327 with double hump heads
  23. acadian_carguy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2008
    Posts: 793


    I'm no SB Chevy engine expert, but unless you want a hi-horsepower engine I see nothing wrong with a 305.
    Years ago I had a 79 GMC van with a 305. I don't even remember how many miles I put on it, must have been over 100 thousand. All I ever did was change filters and minor tune ups, and one new water pump. Only burnt a bit of oil at the end. Engine always ran strong and was super reliable.
  24. 68hillbilly
    Joined: May 10, 2007
    Posts: 158

    from KENTUCKY

    305'S can be very good engines. they don't make a lot of power but they sure are reliable. I had a bone stock one in a 86 z28 got real decent mileage. 20+ on highway, was peppy and fun to drive. The best part is that it had 279,000 and still ran great when I sold it.
  25. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792


    You can build high horse power with anything, if you have the money.
  26. Hehe it kills me how lots of guys on here get caught up about SBCs and which one to build.

    Work out what you want to use the car for, your car's weight, gearing and trans you will be running then decide what size engine you need and set it up accordingly.

    As said - any SBC if done right can look like what you want it to look like.

    FWIW - nothing wrong with a nice 305....would do the job nicely if it s a street car that gets driven and aint too hard on fuel.
  27. hopped up
    Joined: Oct 5, 2009
    Posts: 401

    hopped up
    from So Cal

    I have a 305 with a 700r4 in one of the rides..Fucker rules..Quick response, freeway roller, and good on gas. Go spend all you hard earned money on after market goodies and tell you're friends about it! End of the the day, you have to be practical...
    Joined: May 6, 2012
    Posts: 325

    If you're thinking of rebuilding something... why not just go through the 350 you already have. Save you the price of a 305 core.
  29. I'm sure you can find 305's out there for next to nothing, will bolt right in and if cost is a factor (always has been for me) and will still make a '53 sound, look, and go good. However the 350 is much easier to get some thunder out of. Your call.
  30. Remember our current liberal government and what they did to us several years ago with their "clunker law" ? There is telling how many SBC engines were trashed. Any used running small blocks will soon be a collectible. Just thinking,about 98 was the last year they were used in production !!! I for one am not a big fan of mass rebuild companies. Your local machine shop that keeps several of their own rebuilt short blocks and long blocks in stock may be your new friend.

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